FirstPartner's 2016 Blockchain Ecosystem Market Map helps to decrypt the blockchain landscape with a visual overview of the emerging ecosystem, players, technologies and trends. It clearly summarises three main areas of focus emerging around the core blockchain or distributed ledger protocols:
1) Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies: Providing an alternative to centrally managed "fiat" currencies, this sector includes Bitcoin exchanges, Bitcoin wallets, miners and cryptocurrency payment processors. The map illustrates how these companies interact and features some leading players including Coinbase, Circle, Kraken and 21 Inc.
2) The Financial Services Blockchain: This has been the main area of focus over the last 12 months as attention shifts from Bitcoin to Financial Services applications. An increasing number of players are focussing on commercialising blockchain technologies for banks, securities, derivatives and asset markets and institutional investors - and are attracting VC funding to do so. Ripple and Ethereum are leading candidate protocols for payment processing and smart contracts and players including Ripple, Chain and Digital Asset Holdings are gaining traction with Financial Institutions. The Map highlights leading technology companies and some of the banks, card schemes and processors who are investing in or evaluating distributed ledger technologies.
3) Other Use Cases: The distributed ledger concept and its ability to support transparent and tamper-proof asset registration, proof of ownership and asset transfer transactions makes it potentially applicable to multiple non financial use cases. The Map highlights a number of candidate use cases including publishing, legal, distributed data storage, document management and IoT. Some of the pioneering initiatives and companies exploring these applications are included.
Crucially the Map also provides a clear pictorial explanation and summary of the leading protocols at the heart of the ecosystem and concepts including coloured coins and smart contracts that supplement them to make a number of the proposed services possible.
A printable version of the map can be downloaded from www.firstpartner.net.